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Realism and social structure

Philosophical Studies 174 (10):2417-2433 (2017)

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  1. Salience and Metaphysical Explanation.Phil Corkum - forthcoming - Synthese:1-22.
    Metaphysical explanations, unlike many other kinds of explanation, are standardly thought to be insensitive to our epistemic situation and so are not evaluable by cognitive values such as salience. I consider a case study that challenges this view. Some properties are distributed over an extension. For example, the property of being polka-dotted red on white, when instantiated, is distributed over a surface. Similar properties have been put to work in a variety of explanatory tasks in recent metaphysics, including: providing an (...)
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  • Real Talk on the Metaphysics of Gender.Robin Dembroff - 2018 - Philosophical Topics 46 (2):21-50.
    Gender classifications often are controversial. These controversies typically focus on whether gender classifications align with facts about gender kind membership: Could someone really be nonbinary? Is Chris Mosier really a man? I think this is a bad approach. Consider the possibility of ontological oppression, which arises when social kinds operating in a context unjustly constrain the behaviors, concepts, or affect of certain groups. Gender kinds operating in dominant contexts, I argue, oppress trans and nonbinary persons in this way: they marginalize (...)
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  • Finean Feminist Metaphysics.Asya Passinsky - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (9):937-954.
    .Feminist metaphysicians have recently argued that many of the most influential contemporary meta-metaphysical frameworks are at odds with feminist metaphysics. In this paper I argue that the Finean framework of grounding, essence, and reality evades the main challenges that have been raised for alternative frameworks. The upshot of my discussion is that the Finean framework is an apt one for feminist metaphysics.
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  • Social Structural Explanation.Valerie Soon - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (10):e12782.
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  • Conceptual Engineering and Ways of Believing.Eve Kitsik - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-22.
    I will argue that those thinking about conceptual engineering should think more about ways of believing. When we talk about what someone “believes”, we could be talking about how they are inclined to act, or what they have put forth as their position on a matter, or what gives rise to a feeling of endorsement when they reflect on the matter. If we further recognize that the contents of our beliefs are at least sometimes framed in certain concepts and that (...)
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  • Social Construction: Big-G Grounding, Small-G Realization.Aaron Griffith - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):241-260.
    The goal of this paper is to make headway on a metaphysics of social construction. In recent work, I’ve argued that social construction should be understood in terms of metaphysical grounding. However, I agree with grounding skeptics like Wilson that bare claims about what grounds what are insufficient for capturing, with fine enough grain, metaphysical dependence structures. To that end, I develop a view on which the social construction of human social kinds is a kind of realization relation. Social kinds, (...)
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  • The Structures of Social Structural Explanation: Comments on Haslanger’s What is (Social) Structural Explanation?Rachel Katharine Sterken - 2018 - Disputatio 10 (50):173-199.
    In a recent paper, Sally Haslanger argues for the importance of structural explanation. Roughly, a structural explana- tion of the behaviour of a given object appeals to features of the struc- tures—physical, social, or otherwise—the object is embedded in. It is opposed to individualistic explanations, where what is appealed to is just the object and its properties. For example, an individualistic explanation of why someone got the grade they did might appeal to features of the essay they wrote—its being well-written, (...)
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  • On Haslanger’s Meta-Metaphysics: Social Structures and Metaphysical Deflationism.E. Díaz-León - 2018 - Disputatio 10 (50):201-216.
    The metaphysics of gender and race is a growing area of concern in contemporary analytic metaphysics, with many different views about the nature of gender and race being submitted and discussed. But what are these debates about? What questions are these accounts trying to answer? And is there real disagreement between advocates of differ- ent views about race or gender? If so, what are they really disagreeing about? In this paper I want to develop a view about what the debates (...)
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  • Social Explanation: Structures, Stories, and Ontology. A Reply to Díaz León, Saul, and Sterken.Sally Haslanger - 2018 - Disputatio 10 (50):245-273.
    In response to commentaries by Esa Díaz León, Jennifer Saul, and Ra- chel Sterken, I develop more fully my views on the role of structure in social and metaphysical explanation. Although I believe that social agency, quite generally, occurs within practices and structures, the relevance of structure depends on the sort of questions we are asking and what interventions we are considering. The emphasis on questions is also relevant in considering metaphysical and meta-metaphysical is- sues about realism with respect to (...)
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  • Shopping for Truth Pluralism.Will Gamester - 2020 - Synthese 198 (12):11351-11377.
    Truth pluralists say that the nature of truth varies between domains of discourse: while ordinary descriptive claims or those of the hard sciences might be true in virtue of corresponding to reality, those concerning ethics, mathematics, institutions might be true in some non-representational or “anti-realist” sense. Despite pluralism attracting increasing amounts of attention, the motivations for the view remain underdeveloped. This paper investigates whether pluralism is well-motivated on ontological grounds: that is, on the basis that different discourses are concerned with (...)
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  • Skeptical Doubts.Kathrin Koslicki - 2020 - In Michael J. Raven (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding. London, UK: pp. 164-179.
    This chapter reviews several varieties of grounding skepticism as well as responses that have been proposed by grounding enthusiasts to considerations raised by grounding skeptics. Grounding skeptics, as I conceive of them here, are theorists who belong to one of the following two schools of thought. “Old-school” grounding skeptics doubt the theoretical utility of the grounding idiom by denying one of its presuppositions, viz., that this notion is at least intelligible or coherent. “Second-generation” grounding skeptics call into question the theoretical (...)
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  • Individualistic and Structural Explanations in Ásta’s Categories We Live By.Aaron M. Griffith - 2019 - Journal of Social Ontology 5 (2):251-260.
    Ásta’s Categories We Live By is a superb addition to the literature on social metaphysics. In it she offers a powerful framework for understanding the creation and maintenance of social categories. In this commentary piece, I want to draw attention to Ásta’s reliance on explanatory individualism – the view that the social world is best explained by the actions and attitudes of individuals. I argue that this reliance makes it difficult for Ásta to explain how many social categories are maintained (...)
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  • Disputatio Symposium on Sally Haslanger’s Work.Teresa Marques - 2018 - Lisbon: Disputatio.
    The articles collected in this symposium are result of the workshop Doing Justice to the Social, which was dedicated to the work of Sally Haslanger. The workshop took place at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona between the 6 and 8 June 2016. The workshop was also the 10th Meeting of the NOMOS Network for Practical Philosophy. The network meetings focus on philosophical issues connected with practical concerns, examined in an open-minded manner. This sympo- sium collects articles by Rachel Sterken, (...)
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  • What Social Construction Isn’T.Emilie Pagano - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (4):1651-1670.
    Just as contemporary metaphysics, in general, is marked by an interest in ground, contemporary social metaphysics, in particular, is marked by an interest in social construction. It’s no surprise, then, that some contemporary metaphysicians have come to understand social construction in terms of ground. In this paper, I argue that this is a mistake. In particular, I argue that any otherwise plausible account of construction as ground is objectionably revisionary. First, I discuss an argument for the view that construction is (...)
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  • Social Construction as Grounding; Or: Fundamentality for Feminists, a Reply to Barnes and Mikkola.Jonathan Schaffer - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (10):2449-2465.
    Feminist metaphysics is guided by the insight that gender is socially constructed, yet the metaphysics behind social construction remains obscure. Barnes and Mikkola charge that current metaphysical frameworks—including my grounding framework—are hostile to feminist metaphysics. I argue that not only is a grounding framework hospitable to feminist metaphysics, but also that a grounding framework can help shed light on the metaphysics behind social construction. By treating social construction claims as grounding claims, the feminist metaphysician and the social ontologist both gain (...)
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  • Social Ontology.Rebecca Mason & Katherine Ritchie - forthcoming - In Ricki Bliss & James Miller (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics.
    Traditionally, social entities (i.e., social properties, facts, kinds, groups, institutions, and structures) have not fallen within the purview of mainstream metaphysics. In this chapter, we consider whether the exclusion of social entities from mainstream metaphysics is philosophically warranted or if it instead rests on historical accident or bias. We examine three ways one might attempt to justify excluding social metaphysics from the domain of metaphysical inquiry and argue that each fails. Thus, we conclude that social entities are not justifiably excluded (...)
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  • Replies to Commentaries.Elizabeth Barnes - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (1):232-243.
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  • Disability Studies, Conceptual Engineering, and Conceptual Activism.Elizabeth Amber Cantalamessa - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (1-2):46-75.
    In this project I am concerned with the extent to which conceptual engineering happens in domains outside of philosophy, and if so, what that might look like. Specifically, I’ll argue that...
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  • Social Categories in Context.Elanor Taylor - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (2):171-187.
    Social categories play a central role in inquiry. Some authors have argued that social categories can only play this role because they have a particular metaphysical status, such as a connection to natural kinds or to comparatively joint-carving properties. This reflects the broadly realist idea that categories that play important roles in inquiry do so for metaphysical reasons. In this paper I argue that such metaphysical views of social categories cannot accommodate ‘empty’ social categories, cases in which social categories that (...)
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  • Social Objects, Response-Dependence, and Realism.Asya Passinsky - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (4):431-443.
    There is a widespread sentiment that social objects such as nation-states, borders, and pieces of money are just figments of our collective imagination and not really ‘out there’ in the world. Call this the ‘antirealist intuition’. Eliminativist, reductive materialist, and immaterialist views of social objects can all make sense of the antirealist intuition, in one way or another. But these views face serious difficulties. A promising alternative view is nonreductive materialism. Yet it is unclear whether and how nonreductive materialists can (...)
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  • Feminist Metaphysics.Sally Haslanger & Ásta Kristjana Sveinsdóttir - 2008;2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Moral Ecology, Disabilities, and Human Agency.Kevin Timpe - 2019 - Res Philosophica 96 (1):17-41.
    This paper argues that human agency is not simply a function of intrinsic properties about the agent, but that agency instead depends on the ecology that the agent is in. In particular, the paper examines ways that disabilities affect agency and shows how, by paying deliberate attention to structuring the social environment around people with disabilities, we can mitigate some of the agential impact of those disabilities. The paper then argues that the impact of one’s social environment on agency isn’t (...)
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  • Realizing Race.Aaron M. Griffith - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):1919-1934.
    A prominent way of explaining how race is socially constructed appeals to social positions and social structures. On this view, the construction of a person’s race is understood in terms of the person occupying a certain social position in a social structure. The aim of this paper is to give a metaphysically perspicuous account of this form of race construction. Analogous to functionalism about mental states, I develop an account of a ‘race structure’ in which various races (Black, White, Asian, (...)
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  • Metaphysics and Social Justice.Aaron M. Griffith - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (6).
    Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that aims to give a theoretical account of what there is and what it is like. Social justice movements seek to bring about justice in a society by changing policy, law, practice, and culture. Evidently, these activities are very different from one another. The goal of this article is to identify some positive connections between recent work in metaphysics and social justice movements. I outline three ways in which metaphysical work on social reality can (...)
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  • Care of the Sexual Self: Askesis As a Route to Sex Education.Shaun Douglas Miller - unknown
    In adolescent sex education, the contemporary debate has developed into two camps: the paternalistic view and the liberal view. I argue that both sides of the camp have been too focused on actions and behavior and are assuming a heteronormative background. This dissertation argues that the way to take care of the self is through exercises, techniques, self-discipline, and self-cultivation—what the ancient Greeks called áskēsis. By applying áskēsis to sex education, students will gain the character of taking care of the (...)
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  • Reply to Miller, Sider and Skow.Ross P. Cameron - 2017 - Analysis 77 (4):810-824.
    I reply to Miller, Sider and Skow’s comments on my book The Moving Spotlight. I aim to make clearer the epistemic argument against non-presentist A-theories of time, and why I avoid it. I provide further elaboration of the moving spotlight view, and why I think there is real change in important features of things on this metaphysic. I explain further what I think is required for there to be genuine temporal passage, and why there is such a thing according to (...)
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  • Changing Metaphysics: What Difference Does It Make?Amie L. Thomasson - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82:139-163.
    I have argued elsewhere for a deflationary conception of metaphysics, which takes well-formed metaphysical questions to be answerable using nothing more mysterious than empirical information and descriptive and normative conceptual work. Here I examine the ways in which our practices of metaphysics should change, if we adopt the deflationary reconception of metaphysics. Adopting this approach does not mean abandoning metaphysics, but it does lead to important differences regarding which debates and positions are worth taking seriously. It also requires us to (...)
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  • Critical Study of Kris McDaniel's The Fragmentation of Being.Ross P. Cameron - 2018 - Res Philosophica 95 (4):785-795.
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